October here in Upstate New York means a cornucopia of colors. Oranges, reds and yellows explode across the landscape, a final hurrah from our foliage friends before they drop their leaves and hibernate for the winter.
The month is also highlighted by another color: pink. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (it’s also Filipino American History Month, Spinal Bifida Awareness Month and National Bullying Prevention Month, to name a few), and the iconic pink ribbon representing the fight against breast cancer will be adorning lapels, ties, T-shirts, bumpers, coffee cups and trash cans.
We’ll go out on a limb and say Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good thing. Since getting under way nearly three decades ago, it has in part been responsible for a decline in deaths due to breast cancer and early detection of the disease.
Part of this groundswell of support for the fight against breast cancer has been due to massive fundraising activities such as the Susan G. Komen “For the Cure” walks and Race for the Cure runs held across the country. In almost all cases, large organizations dedicated to holding such events pass money raised along to help with research and treatment.
There are other ways to support the battle against breast cancer, though. This week, in our Spotlight on Living section, you’ll read about Camp Braveheart, an organization that lets women who are fighting or have defeated all types of cancer to come together and support one another at a retreat in Lake Luzerne and other places.
It’s a real cause helping real people in tangible ways. It’s also one everyone will find easy to support, because fundraising will occur at the Maple Ski Ridge Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 12. It’s a way to have a day of fun with the family while supporting a good cause, and unlike buying a bracelet, cupcake or pink beanie, you can rest assured your money will end up going to a real program helping real people, and not to line the pockets of marketers looking to profit off the pink-ribbon bandwagon.
No matter what you do, we encourage everyone to get involved this month in the fight against breast cancer in some way. Whether that’s making a donation to a nonprofit, showing your support by participating in a walk or other event, volunteering at a program like Camp Braveheart or even just getting yourself screened, remember that your help is still needed. While massive advances have been made in the battle against this disease, it’s also true 3 percent of women still die from it.
So when making your fall plans, please consider incorporating pink into the colors of the changing leaves.